Prasarita Padottanasana: (pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-than-AHS-anna)
Prasarita: stretch out; expand
Tan: to extend
Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose has several benefits:
Stretches the groins, hamstrings and hips
Calms the mind
decompresses the spine
Relieves fatigue, mild depression and anxiety
Step by Step
1. Start in Mountain Pose at the front of your mat. On an inhale, step your right foot towards the back of your mat so your body is facing the long edge of your mat.
2. Bring your hands out at shoulder height, above your feet. Heel-toe your feet to position them directly underneath your hands. Bring your hands to your hips.
3. Push your hands down into your hips. As you inhale lengthen your heart and chest skywards to create length in your torso. As you exhale, slowly dive forward towards the mat, bringing your fingertips to touch the mat in front of your face.
4. As you lengthen the crown of your head down to the ground, push your sitting bones upwards towards the ceiling. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged as you lengthen out your spine. If possible, rest the crown of your head on the mat.
5. There are several options with your hands: Reach your hands straight back underneath your legs, placing your hands on your mat; bend your elbows and place your palms flat underneath your shoulders and in line with your toes; place your forearms on the ground beside your head; or hold onto your big toes with your first two fingers.
6. Stay here for up to 1 minute. To exit the pose, slowly walk your hands forwards until your torso is parallel to the floor. Engage your core and bring your hands to your hips. As you inhale, lift your torso up, leading with your heart. Step forwards to Mountain Pose.
Lower back pain or injury
If your head doesn’t touch the mat, you can place your head on a block or pillow.